We start by noting that FoRK started innocently enough:
And evolved to the point where Rohit could give us a cast list:
Unfortunately, 9 months later, that cast list is way out of date. And
there's been a request by the big man himself for a psychological
analysis of the FoRKmembers based on their posts (or lack thereof):
Psychologically speaking, does FoRK consist of the type of people who
would FoRM a cult?
Worse, does FoRK contain within it the makings of a mini-illuminati
that is planning as a cabal to take over the world with THE NeXT BIG
(Incidentally, the belief that enhanced understanding will necessarily
stir a nation to action is one of mankind's oldest illusions.)
I decided there was only one thing to answer all of these plaquing
questions: take an Ironman approach to evaluating FoRK myself. Who are
the people on this list? In so doing, I'd inflict some of that patented
Karma Wit Plagiarism to which so many here have grown accustomed (albeit
weary). So, on to the Mother of All FoRKposts...
Herein resides a decomposition of the personalities of FoRK, *as* *they*
*manifest* *themselves* *on* FoRK*, taken from a subscribership snapshot
4/4/97. Such a deconstruction calls for a special blend of psychology
and extreme violence. *evil grin*
I call this piece, "The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological
Imperatives in FoRK: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Posting Modes."
Academia, here I come!
1. THE LURKERS
These are people I know little-to-nothing about, so I do what any
psychoanalyst worth his weight in salt does: I make things up.
Remember, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
<email@example.com> Boston, Massachusetts
Brian believes artificial intelligence is no match for natural
stupidity. Forget articial intelligence; what the world needs is
artificial CUNNING! FoRK is, as you know, home of the cunning
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Washington, DC
Dobbin's brain is powered by Big Gulps from SevLev, which carry him
from Washington Bullets games to DC United games to Washington Warthogs
games to an occasional World Cup or Olympic game every now and then.
The following are not incompatible with Dobbin's outlook on life: Las
Vegas, Tiffany, books written by women under 30, sports hats, corn dogs,
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Penelope Ann Miller, Cokes-are-for-sippin and
Pepsis-are-for-chuggin (it has to do with the carbonation content, I
think), Philip Morris, and USA Today. All of which together form a
recipe for all-out FAMILY FUN, which is why the first FoRK-inspired
action figures will be of Dobbin (and of Xena, princess warrior, because
every action figure set needs one of those).
<email@example.com> Ann Arbor, Michigan
Douglas likes to consume mass quantities of Dog n Suds Cream Soda (99
cents at Champs). Take away his pop culture, though, and where is he?
Sure, that pun could have been produced by a rack of monkeys on toilets,
but what are we humans really but monkeys with car keys? Hey, maybe
that's why he administrates http://www.monkey.org/ ... Show me the monkey!
As we all know, FoRK is made exclusively for the best blobs of
protoplasm ever assembled into primates.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Boston, Massachusetts
I once had a dream that Henrik likes aerobics, which reminds me of a
study that showed that a woman's breast feeding isn't adversely affected
by aerobics. It was found, however, to be pretty distracting to the
guys in the class. Where was I? Oh, Henrik has the need for speed;
HTTP 1.1, that is. Downloads so fast, they finish before you even make
the request. Downloads so fast, you literally go back in time! Faster,
pussycat, kill, kill!! Faster, faster, until the thrill of the speed
overcomes the fear of death!!! Oh, and as a hacker, we feel obliged to
point out that Henrik does it all night, with his fingers, with all
sorts of characters.
<email@example.com> Santa Barbara, California
Greg left Caltech to become a happening fish, flopping on a digital
beach. The waves roll in on zeroes and ones, counting all the setting
suns. Oh, that reminds me of a Hi Tech Haiku: The sand remembers, Once
there was beach and sunshine, But chip is warm too. Life's a beach, and
then you dry.
John believes progress is made by lazy people looking for easier ways
to do things.
The only place to eat that is cheaper than Taco Bell, is the dumpster
out back behind Taco Bell.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Charlotte, North Carolina
John can change a diaper in the dark, with one hand tied behind his
back. Beat that! A master at swearing using 12-letter words, John
believes that life is about faith, friends, and family. Makes you
wonder how this normal person was ever able to find the on-ramp of FoRK.
<email@example.com> Seattle, Washington
Magnus is our guarantee that all FoRKposts are archived somewhere
within the firewalls of Microsoft. This ensures that our posts will
outlive us. And they won't back down. (Sorry, didn't mean to be Petty...)
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Seattle, Washington
Mark "the Shark" makes everything seem easy. I sneak a peak into my
crystal ball and find a colorful credo. Be legendary... appear
complex... act famous... radiate presence... travel light... seem a
dream... prove real.
Ron wastes not his time in idle discourse. Give him Shelties, or give
him nothing. And if wishes were horses, dog food would be a lot cheaper.
<email@example.com> Seattle, Washington
The newest addition to the FoRK family, Todd can be summarized with
the following quote: "Having just returned from 7 months in Japan, it
seems to me today that the main purpose of life is: 1) to have a job in
whose ultimate purpose you can believe; 2) to have friends whose
immediate purposes you can trust; 3) to have some spot on the earth to
which you can return as home; 4) to be at same time a citizen of some
larger world." -- James A. Michener, 4/20/52
2. THE MIDDLE CLASS
These are people I know little-to-something about, so I do what any
psychoanalyst worth his weight in assault does: I make things up.
Remember, sometimes a cigar is just a ci... hey! Everybody keep your
hands above your desks!
Wayne believes the generation of random numbers is far too important
to be left to chance. And at every turn, Wayne reminds us that
CONVERSATION is an anagram for VOICES RANT ON. Working at a national
laboratory gives him cool special superhero powers, which he's currently
debating whether to use for the good of humankind, or for pure evil
because, let's face it, that's a lot more fun. Oh, there's a wormhole
connecting Wayne's past to Ernie's past, but the rest of us are under
"don't ask, don't tell" policy.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Manhattan, New York
Duck got his name from Satellite Safety Tip #14: if you see a bright
streak in the sky coming at you, Duck. I'm going to avoid making any
puns regarding how I love his foul little mind; instead, I'll just
suggest that he gets up at the quack of dawn, for he knows that the
early bird gets the worm. (So what does the early worm get? EATEN.)
Duck is one of our fonts of humor here. (A brief primer on humor:
tragedy is when I stub my toe; humor is when you fall down a manhole.)
One too many Mardi Gras's has left Duck pining for Jewel (or was that
Joey Lauren Adams? I get them confused...). My greatest hope from Duck
now that he's in Columbia is that he can send us back lots of good,
<email@example.com> Pasadena, California
Ernie is a doctor, which means that Apples keep him away. Actually, I
think he's the one doctor out of 5 who doesn't recommend sugarless gum
to his patients who chew gum. His nickname: Dances With Consultants.
For those of you not in the know, a consultant is someone who borrows
your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets your watch, and then
sends you a bill. Ernie always knows what's NeXT; unlike Adam, he is
more than happy to spew forth before knowing what he's going to say. He
holds a Caltech PhD in Experimental Particle Physics in both hands,
serves as chaplain of FoRK, and is a sometime Object Philosopher. He
has no bits, and only one clue, but it is a generic one. He acts as a
cue multiplier for Rohit and Adam.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Mountain View, California
If there's a word that's the opposite of "uncaring person", it would
be "Gordon". In addition, Gordon knows exactly what's in a name. His
belief system is well-defined and showcases what's wrong with the world
today. Anyone needing documentation to the kernel functions probably
shouldn't be using them. C++ is to C as Lung Cancer is to Lung. Cast
everything as void* and presto, no more annoying type checking.
Consistent mediocrity, delivered on a large scale, is much more
profitable than anything on a small scale, no matter how efficient it
might be. Divisive dependencies, distributed deadlocks, and partisan
protocols have tightened gridlocks, aggravated race conditions, and
promulgated double standards. File deletion is forever. The most
interesting commands are named after digestive noises (awk, grep, fsck,
nroff, ...). If C gives you enough rope to hang yourself, then C++
gives you enough rope to bind and gag your neighborhood, rig the sails
on a small ship, and still have enough rope to hang yourself from the
yardarm. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.
It's easy to spot the work of a sloppy handyman: you'll see paint over
cracks, patch over patch, everything held together by chewing gum and
duct tape. NeWS and NEXTSTEP were political failures because they
suffer from the same two problems: oBNoXiOuS capitalization, and Amiga
Persecution Attitude (TM). People vote for president more often than
they read printed documentation; the only documentation that counts is
the stuff that's on-line. Programming X Windows is like trying to find
the square root of pi using roman numerals. Typing !xxx%s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s
to any C-shell will cause it to crash immediately. Unix doesn't have a
philosophy; it has an ATTITUDE. Operating systems are simply computer
viruses with a user interface. What a judicious choice /* was for
delimiting comments (e.g., return *p/*q; )... And while we're on the
subject, why DO grep, fgrep, and egrep take different options and
implement slightly different semantics for the phrase "regular
expressions"? Who is in charge here????
<email@example.com> Seattle, Washington
Joe defends Microsoft, because *someone* has to.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Pasadena, California
Joe attacks Microsoft, because *someone* has to.
<email@example.com> Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
To short-circuit the distribution of business objects for food, Mark
cuts out the middle(man)ware and survives by drinking Java and eating
Beans. Watch out, Mark, consumption of those in mass quantities can
lead to heavy farting. Which reminds me of a dream I had. I gaze at
the brilliant full moon. The same one, I think to myself, at which
Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato gazed. Suddenly, I imagine they appear
beside me. I tell Socrates about the national debate over one's right
to die and wonder at the constancy of the human condition. I tell Plato
that I live in the country that has come the closest to Utopia, and I
show him a copy of the Constitution. I tell Aristotle that we have
found many more than four basic elements and I show him a periodic
table. I get a box of kitchen matches and strike one. They gasp with
wonder. We spend the rest of the night lighting farts.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> San Francisco, California
Wendy believes that the world will end, not with a whimper, but a
BANG. If FoRK were the TV show "Seinfeld," Wendy would be its Elaine.
As such, Wendy knows that Boston is the "Hub of the Universe." The only
thing scarier than Boston driving the universe, is the universe of
Boston drivers: not only do they ignore driving laws, they don't even
obey the laws of physics.
<email@example.com> Haifa, Israel
Ron is a realist: he understands that FoRK inevitably comes with
Cobraboy postings, for better or worse. As an inspiration, he started a
kinder, gentler FoRK spinoff, called FoRR, which then changed its name
to dist-obj. What's interesting, of course, is that FoRK itself is a
crueller, harsher FoG spinoff. So if f() is the "crueller, harsher"
operator, and its inverse f'() is the "kinder, gentler" operator, then
we have an isomorphism inconsistency!
Given FoRK = f(FoG)
Then dist-obj = FoRR = f'(FoRK) = f'(f(FoG)) != FoG
Which is why, of course, the universe *needs* an FoAR list, to reconcile
these otherwise irreconcilible differences... But I digress. Ron is
well-studied in the affairs of Wizards, but he dares not meddle in their
affairs, for he is crunchy and tastes good with ketchup. :)
<Robert.Harley@inria.fr> Paris, France
Don't Mess With Da Robster Dat Dances With Factors (busy cracking
VMS's "secure" hash for passwords...) drugs NSA nuclear red hookers
Castro ITAR rhubarb Khaddafi hi spooks assassinate GCHQ porn Oklahoma
conspiracy plutonium Krasnoyarsk M4 coredump Microsoft Valujet cocaine
HigherSource Mars Waco Metallica stoned illuminati Clinton vasectomy
oh untimely death!
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Boston, Massachusetts
Robert dances a variant of the Mockarena called the Moqawama. Oh, and
he's impressed when a book has BETA on the cover. Both of these bits
are embedded in his philosophy that fine print makes for fine reading.
3. THE OVER-POSTERS
The over-posters are a special group in FoRK with a specialized role,
based on their belief that if someone is thirsty for bits, they should
have to drink them from a firehose. These people are here TO SCARE
PEOPLE AWAY; were it not for the over-posters, FoRK would be
overpopulated with every 2-bit junkie this side of the 100BaseT connection.
<email@example.com> Whereabouts Unknown
"I Find Karma" is a real loose canon: for every useful bit of
information he finds and posts, he feels obligated to ruin it with
scores of useless crap. You never know whether to hit the delete key
right away upon encountering his FoRKposts, or waste some time
determining if there's a diamond in that rough. Adam lives by the
philosophy that it's amazing what you can do with duct tape; sometimes
he uses it in lieu of underwear. (More information than was necessary?)
Just remember that with Adam, nothing is as it seems: he'll lead you to
think he has bits, vision, and/or clue when he doesn't. Or vice versa.
Adam is just a front for something completely different. The owls are
not what they seem; rather, they are there to deflect attention from
something bigger and even more secretive... The single most meaningful
activity of his life was buying Dan Connolly pancakes at IHOP at 3am;
from that point on, the world made sense. But he still has trouble
spelling "docuement" -- let alone "contaeiner" or "compoenent" (darn
those silent E's)!
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Seattle, Washington
Dan is THE MAN. His satellite went into outerspace, and all he got
was this lousy tee shirt. Dan walks on water, and doesn't get caught!
The impossible he does immediately; miracles require 24 hours. In FoRK,
Dan sends staccato signals of constant information, a loose affiliation
with millionaires and billionaires, baby. If FoRK were Oz, Dan would be
the Wizard. As it is, FoRK is not Oz, and Dan is still the Wizard.
<email@example.com> Irvine, California
Jim's steady clue flow comes in a bit sine wave, interspersed with the
top 30 lists of KUCI. Jim once got arrested trying to smuggle books
into Kentucky; since then, his interest has been in distributing the
authorship so that no one gets hurt. An author ought to write for the
youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the
schoolmaster of ever afterwards. Authors eventually rise to the top of
whatever depths they were once able to plumb. Reminds me what I like
best. What I like best is a book that's at least funny once in a
while... what really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done
reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of
yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
That doesn't happen much, though.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> the "Bermuda Triangle" of Seattle/Boston/California
Rohit is the ultimate information addict; we should call him Mother
Superior on account of his having the world's biggest habit (of
infosponging, that is). Careful experimentation with a control group of
saccharine-laden laboratory rats has revealed that when Rohit is
restrained from bit consumption, and he manifests serious withdrawal
sickness symptoms ("Show me the bits!" the subject was known to spew
with zombie-like repetition). A mild mannered BitBoy by day, Rohit
turns into TravelMan whenever his 1K status on United is threatened.
This schizophrenia is okay, though, since it is tempered by his temper
(which manifests itself whenever someone exhibits a lack of clue). Mind
you, a temper at wrest tends to stay at rest, as long as you live by the
"Credo of FoRKposting": Every post is sacred, every post is great; if a
post is wasted, Ro gets quite irate. (Whenever old bits and/or nonbits
cause Rohit to be pissed off, you should assuage him by telling him that
being pissed off is far better than being pissed on.) Rohit's the kind
of person who wanted to work for a team (W3C) who industry consults when
they've got no standards.
<email@example.com> Orange County, California
As an extraordinary combination of intelligence, baldness, and
serenity, Tim is the hope and future of America. And if that doesn't
scare you, nothing will. The NeXT big thing, the man who believes an
Apple post a day keeps the spin doctors away, the charismatic cross
between Andre Agassi and Jean-Luc Picard, Tim's main role is (when he's
not a hard working businessman, President of the newly revised Southern
California NeXT Users Group meeting at Apple Computer in Santa Monica,
creator of an on-line commerce site, and world-renowned author) to
frighten. He does this terrifyingly well; we should all splurge and buy
him one of those $7500 20th-anniversary Macintoshes with concierge
service for his skill in padding the FoRK post counts (and intimidating
anyone who Tim is the bouncer of FoRK; no one gets in without passing
through his barrage of postings, and he often docks with unreliable ISPs
causing personal email to him to bounce regularly. Of course, without
the bounce, there could be no jiggle, and without the jiggle, life would
suck. Therefore, Tim is vital to the nonsuckage of life. Despite all
evidence, he does not go through life with a cavalier attitude, doing
nothing more than drinking and screwing, when not tooling around town in
a fancy car, then once a month or so throwing together a web site for
$10K. Instead, Tim is a stand-up philosopher of the Nth degree, a
philosopher's philosopher, with articulate expressions evincing from his
beep throat. Tim will retire once his Foundation has accumulated the
requisite $19.873 million needed to support him in the decadent yet
austere lifestyle to which he would like to grow accustomed; you can
send your donations to the Tim Byars Foundation, 300 East Bellevue #117,
Pasadena, CA 91101. With my 21, Tim, you're up to 34 cents!! Decadent
retirement, here you come...
Beauty. Talent. Fame. Money. Refinement of skill and brain.
But all the things you try to hide will be revealed on the other side.
In the afterlife, you could be headed for the serious strife.
Now you make the scene all day, but tomorrow there'll be hell to pay.
-- Squirrel Nut Zippers